Plans B

24 Jul

I really want to document this, just because it was something I spent so much time planning and thinking about how I wanted labor to go. And of course it went very differently. I always knew this might be the case, which is why I never had a detailed birth plan. I had a  conversation with my OB about my preferences, but always let her know that I was open to the Plan B birth.

The weekend before my due date, I was feeling like things were definitely starting to happen. I was very uncomfortable and “waddly” and baby felt like she was vigorously head-butting my cervix. But I still thought I would go a few days past my due date, which was that Wednesday.

I was wrong. Monday I ran around all day taking care of last minute stuff that I knew would be a pain in the ass once I had a little sidekick. Boring stuff like taking my car to be serviced, or returning items I didn’t need/want to various stores. A few days prior I had also agreed to a new freelance project so was also trying to meet a deadline for that. “This is good,” I thought, “I’ll have this crazy day today, then I’ll have a few days to lie around on the couch and watch movies and read.” You know, before heading to the hospital a few days later for my entirely natural birth.

And here’s how everything went differently after that.

My water broke early the next morning at 1am. I had woken up about half an hour before drenched in sweat. It reminded me of the Clomid days and felt distinctly hormonal. I thought things might be shifting in my body, but didn’t think much of it beyond that. After dozing off for a bit, I had that distinct popping sensation others have described. A trip to the bathroom revealed that I had not in fact, peed myself, but that my water had broken. I didn’t feel the need to rush to the hospital, knowing that I had a bit of a window to get there safely, and there was nary a hint of a contraction.  It also helped that things weren’t really gushing, just a steady stream that was tinged slightly pink (normal according to Dr. Google so I did not freak out). I woke my husband, told him things were starting to happen but that he could go back to sleep since I didn’t want to leave just yet. Of course he couldn’t sleep after that so while I showered, he got his bag ready, threw last minute items into my bag and made me some tea. After I got out of the shower, I still wasn’t feeling the need to rush, and sent off a file to my contact at my freelance job. Never in a million years did I imagine that scenario.

We finally left for the hospital at 5:45. On the way, we drove past our favorite bagel place (where the goods are baked on site) and decided to pull over and get some fresh out of the oven for the car ride, knowing that I would not be allowed to eat once I was admitted. (Again, never pictured running into Brooklyn bagel while in labor). On arrival at the hospital, it was inconclusive whether or not my water had broken so they had me hang out in the triage room before admitting me. This was annoying, especially when they were muttering about putting fluid on a slide under the microscope to check for ferning (or something like that) when just moments before I had splashed all over the floor en route to the bathroom. But another surprise – movies on demand! So hubs and I settled in to watch a trashy movie. Still no contractions and only 1 cm dilated.

I am finally admitted, but can’t go into our birthing “suite” until I am 4 cm or more. We finish the movie, I do some work. At the next check, I am still no more dilated than I was on arrival. My doctor arrives and advises that we start a low dose of Pitocin. I had not wanted to be induced but she assures me that this is not an induction. My labor had already begun and this was just going to speed things up. And since I hadn’t felt nary a contraction, just some very mild back pain, it was going to be a long day without some help. I agree.

They weren’t kidding about hitting the gas pedal. Less than two hours after getting the Pitocin, I am experiencing severe back pain and one hour into that I know I won’t be able to take much more, especially if I am still only 1cm dilated. I am actually now at 2cm and the nurse estimates my pain (back labor – lucky me) at about a 5 compared to what it will be once the contractions start getting stronger. I decide that I will take the epidural after all. The anesthesiologist arrives very quickly, is extremely good looking, and I decide that I might need to kiss him when it is all over.  I go from a ball of tears and angst to a happy soul, eating an italian ice and watching “Despicable Me.” Life is good.

Finally we move into our suite. It is very plush with an amazing view. I feel like we just checked into a very nice hotel. The afternoon and early evening pass in a bit of a haze. We make phone calls, watch TV, I sleep, play on my iPhone and I’m starting to think that this is all going to be pretty uneventful.

Thanks to the epidural, I’m feeling no pain and am not paying attention to the monitors (another surprise). A nurse comes in and wants me to shift position because they are worried about the baby’s heart rate which keeps dropping each time I have a contraction. She seems mildly concerned but they are able to control the situation by having me move from one side to the other, and by giving me some oxygen. (The oxygen was annoying and claustrophobic and I hated it. I felt like I could breathe better without it.)

Finally, at about 8pm I am 10 cm and it’s time. The nurse gives me her quick and dirty pushing lesson. I push for about 15 minutes before my doctor arrives. She is unimpressed. She thinks  my not being able to feel anything is hindering my ability to push effectively. She wants me to stop for a while, have the epidural turned off and then resume in an hour. I am actually delighted by this plan because not being able to feel a thing wasn’t working for me at all.

At around 9:20 we try again. I can feel a bit more now (no pain, just some intense pressure – kind of like you’re pooping after DAYS of constipation – I am no stranger to this feeling), but my pushing is still not moving the baby. My doctor issues an ultimatum. Because of the baby’s dropping heart rate, she’s giving me 45 minutes to get her before we go to a C-section.

I’m not sure what came over me at that point. Maybe because I work well under pressure, but something animal kicked in and I pushed like I’ve never pushed before. Suddenly there are more people in the room and everyone’s cheering me on. There’s a huge adrenaline rush with the knowledge that I am going to meet my baby soon and things really start happening. After what seemed like not much time at all, my husband tells me to put my hands on the baby’s head which is now clearly visible and in one final push, she’s out! And it’s a girl!!! Just what I secretly wanted. I also breathe a sigh of relief that we don’t have to worry about out of pocket circumcision costs with my OB. (Yes, this went through my mind as they handed me my baby). We had an hour of skin to skin time before they did anything, which was wonderful. And I will never forget the look on her little face as she peered out from under the blanket they covered her with. I still see that expression now, 5 weeks later, and I melt to mush every time.

So, in a nutshell, I got the Pitocin AND the epidural, and never felt real pushing pain but it was still exactly the birth I wanted. And I wouldn’t take any of it back.

Next up: Breastfeeding, boobies, and the first weeks.

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2 Responses to “Plans B”

  1. Flucky Mom July 26, 2011 at 3:43 am #

    Big congrats! Birth plans never go according to plan. Mine didn’t either, but in the end, it’s exactly as it was meant to be.

  2. BabyMakingDiaries July 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    So pleased it was what you wanted. Hope you and your daughter are doing well xx

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